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The best transitional piece in your wardrobe? The vest.

Fashion

Feb 15, 2018

Too chilly for your spring jacket but too warm for a winter coat? The answer is simple: Choose a vest—quite possibly the best transitional piece in your closet.

The importance of having a work bestie

Everything about the workday is better when you’re facing it with the Louise to your Thelma.

Monday to Friday might feel like a slog when you’re running on no sleep, have your monthly visitor or barely made it out of your commute alive, but there’s one thing that makes it all infinitely more fun: having a work bestie. According to a recent survey by HP Canada, 78 percent of respondents consider their work family to be the best part of their job, and over half would stay at their current job even if a better one came along—just so they wouldn’t have to leave their work family.

Want to actually love going to work every day? Here are five reasons why a work bestie makes everything better.

1. You have a built-in coffee-break date. 

Forget trudging through rain and snow to grab coffee alone. With a work bestie, you always have a partner in crime for caffeine refuelling, lunch or post-work drinks—and a great source for the latest juicy office gossip. Plus, you’ll never have to stand awkwardly in the corner at another work event again.

2. You can complain all the livelong day without repercussions.

“Oh my god, Susan always botches the monthly report.” “What is wrong with Carol? She never flushes the toilet.” Whatever your beef, your work bestie will be right there alongside you saying “Screw Susan!” and bumping your fist. (And because you only whine to your bestie, all the Judgy Jeffs out there will never know you secretly hate everything.)

3. If things get crazy, your bestie will pick up the slack.

When you’ve got way too many things on your plate, a best friend will help in any way she can—even if that means printing and stapling important documents for a meeting, listening to you prep a speech in the bathroom or helping clean your desk so your anxiety doesn’t boil over and burst a blood vessel. 

4. You have someone who’s always on your side—even if your boss isn’t. 

We’ve all had a manager who dismisses our ideas or never acknowledges our work. That lack of appreciation may be hard to handle, but it’s a little more bearable when your work bestie cheers you on through everything you do. 

5. If you’re going through a tough personal time, you have someone to confide in.

It’s not the most comfortable feeling to cry at your desk over lost love, illness or family troubles, but it’s easier to make it through when you have a pal to rub your shoulders, pass you Kleenex and talk it out from every angle. In fact, HP Canada’s survey found that 51 percent of respondents actually tell their work friends personal details that they wouldn’t even share with their real family.

So we’ve established that having a work bestie is key for job satisfaction. But there are still a couple things to watch out for…

1. Having too much fun.

You’re not getting paid to snack on chips and gossip in the lunchroom. So even though it’s okay to bond on your breaks and support each other throughout the day, you still need to check off everything on your to-do list. 

2. Being seen as inseparable—and identical.

Want the chance to advance in your career? You need to stand out. Help your boss associate you with hard work, innovation and professionalism, not just your best friend who’s attached at your hip. 

A budget-friendly living room that looks incredibly luxe

A savvy bargain shopper creates a budget-friendly living room for her family without skimping on style. 

As is evident on her website, Lazy Mom's Blog, Montrealer Joanna Grzeszczak has style to spare. "I love bright and eclectic interiors, and I always want a mix of old and new," she says. But as a mom of two young girls with a baby on the way, she doesn't have a limitless budget. Luckily, the homeowner is resourceful and patient—two key attributes when looking for a bargain—so when it came time to decorate her living room, she was well-equipped to create a luxe look on a dime.

If it's a big buy, Joanna likes to court an item before making a commitment. She has subscribed to her favourite brands' email lists, so no sale alert escapes her. She bides her time, comparing prices at multiple stores before purchasing. "It took me three or four months to buy an armchair," she says, boasting that the blue velvet beauty was originally $500, but she got it for $400. Joanna also frequents Kijiji, where she scores unique pieces for a fraction of their cost. But unsurprisingly, her all-time favourite elements are those that cost nothing at all, such as the carved-wood side table she got as a gift. "I don't like handing over money because I know that there's another way," says the frugal homeowner. Looking around the bright, colourful room, we see there sure is.

Here's how Joanna created this budget-friendly space.

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Birch Lane coffee tables, Real Flame fireplace and Wade Logan armchair, wayfair.ca. Shelving units, canadiantire.ca. Flowers (throughout), fauchoisfleurs.com.

1. She made inexpensive shelves look like custom built-ins.
Scored on sale, glass-front shelving units mimic built-ins, turning the inexpensive electric fireplace into a chic and cozy focal point.

2. She searched for cost-effective alternatives to trendy items.
"I saw a table like this at a trendy store for $900," says Joanna Grzeszczak, who took to the web and found these glam look-alikes for only $200 each.

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3. She saved time and money by planning the space thoroughly.
This thrifty homeowner does her research. To get a sense of how budget-friendly online purchases like this armchair will look in her home, she creates mood boards or scours Pinterest to see their scale in context.

4. She opted for DIY art. 
Just off the living room, this gallery wall is full of saves. Displayed mostly in Ikea frames, the artwork is a collection of the homeowner's own paintings and cutouts from art books she found at garage sales.

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Drapery, ikea.ca. Sofa, leons.ca.

5. She chose conservative colours, which she won't tire of, for pricer items.
"Colourful art, chairs, toss cushions—these things give the impression of a colourful home," says Joanna, who picked bold hues for accessories and muted tones for larger, pricier items.

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6. She relies on her own garden for flower arrangements.
Store-bought flowers can add up. Joanna freshens her home with garden clippings during the warmer months and brings her potted plants indoors for the winter.

Under $100: Best food buys for February

These are the items on our editors' wishlists this month and they're all food-related! (And they're all under $100!)

We're looking for small ways to brighten up our kitchens and our palettes this month!

Canadian Staple

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Townships Organic Maple Syrup, $12, etsy.ca.

This 100% pure, organic maple syrup is a must-have for any foodie. - Linda Contrina, web producer

Hands On

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KitchenAid hand mixer, $52.50, amazon.ca.

Ever since I moved into my own apartment, I’ve been searching for the perfect hand mixer—and I think I’ve finally found it. This five-speed mixer is lightweight and comes in my favourite colour, ice blue.  - Jessica Alcock, digital assistant

Tasty Topper

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Ajishima Nori Furikake, $4, walmart.ca.

Our food editor, Soo Kim, recently reminded me of this simple topping that especially elevates white rice dishes. It’s usually a combination of sesame seeds, seaweed, salt and sugar, can be found from a variety of brands and stores and it packs a serious flavour punch. - Alexandra Donaldson, fashion & beauty editor

Pesto Perfection

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Nicolas Vahe Pesto-Basil Parmesan, $14, drakegeneralstore.ca

Slather this pesto on a nice piece of baguette or use it as an addition to your favourite pasta dish. - LC

Water Way

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Ikea 365+ Carafe, $5, ikea.com.

I’ve decided to swap out the glass milk jugs I use to house water with these simple carafes from Ikea. It’s not that the milk jugs didn’t work—it’s just that when I return them for the deposit I no longer have a pretty way to store water. Problem solved. - AD

Lazy Sunday Mornings

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Barista stainless steel French press, $80, thebay.com.

Perfect for those mornings when you just don’t want to get out of bed. - JA

Something Sweet

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Squish Cherry Watermelon Hearts, $6, squishcandies.com.

Just because Valentine’s Day has come and gone, doesn’t mean I’m going to stop eating festive red candy. Plus this pick from Squish is cherry-watermelon flavoured which reminds me of spring—which is hopefully on the horizon. - AD

Under $100: Best health and wellness buys for February

The items our health-and-wellness-minded editors are shopping this month—all under $100.

The middle of winter (or more accurately, the last third of winter) is the perfect time to practice self-love and care. Our editors will be picking up these under $100 items in the name of health and wellness this month.

Bathing Rituals

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Bathe deep detox bath soak, $6, etsy.ca

Organic rose petals, Himalayan salt and dead seas salt combine perfectly in this detoxifying bath soak. - Jessica Alcock, digital assistant

To read up on why you should be taking a salt bath, click here.

Intimate Moments

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Province Apothecary Sex Oil, $28, provinceapothecary.ca.

It’s February which means that love (and maybe lust) are on the brain. But even though Valentine’s Day has come and gone, it’s still a good idea to keep this handy Canadian-made sex oil on hand for the next time you’re planning on getting intimate with your partner. It’s a combination of coconut oil, sunflower seed oil and evening primrose oil and promises to be non-irritating even to those who are sensitive—did we mention is also smells fantastic? - Alexandra Donaldson, fashion and beauty editor

Healthy Glow

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The Beauty Chef by Carla Oates, $44, shopbop.com

Eat your way to glowing skin and a healthy gut with this beautiful cookbook. Packed with over 150 delicious and nutritious recipes, you’ll be feeling and looking better inside and out in no time. - Linda Cotrina, web producer

Get Happy

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Fountain The Happy Molecule, $24, fountain.co.

It’s still winter, unfortunately, and so I’m finding my energy plummeting thanks to less sunlight. Enter, Fountain which offers liquid supplements for different concerns. When I find myself feeling tired, cranky and a little down, I know I need to reach for Fountain’s The Happy Molecule which, with its combination of Gaba Carrot and hyaluronic acid helps me to feel alert and a little bit more energized. - AD

Pharmacy On The Go

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Pocket Farmacy, $60, saje.com.

From soothing headaches to helping with digestion, the benefits of essential oils are immense. That’s why we’re loving this pocket-sized kit, which comes with six different oils that cater to specific wellness needs. - JA

Bath Time

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Lavender & Rosemary Mini Bath Bomb, $10, etsy.ca/bucknakedsoapcompany.

Get those fingers and toes prepped for mani/pedi time with these natural and vegan bath bombs. - LC

Tight and Tense Muscles

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Lush Wiccy Magic Muscles Bar, $13, lush.ca.

I don’t know about you, but my muscles could use a little help to stop aching. This bar is a combination of peppermint and cinnamon oils which soothe muscles and help to make the skin tingle. While the actual composition of the bar, which has aduki beans is firm and massaging. - AD

Traditional bar soaps have gotten so much better—here are the ones we love right now.

Under $100: Best style buys for February

Don't let a little sunshine fool you—it's still winter out there and we've got the sub-zero temperatures as proof. But, we are thinking forward to transitional dressing and pops of colour—while still making sure our beauty routine is all about hydration and our clothes are super comfy. Here's what we're buying this month, all under $100.

Walk The Line

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Side stripe dress, $50, zara.com/ca.

When we’re shopping for clothing there’s nothing more appealing than finding something that has endless styling opportunities. This dress has just that. You could layer it on top or underneath other items, pairing it with sweaters, jean jackets, white poplin shirts or leggings—we could go on. Another point for this sporty sheath dress is that it’s seasonless—working just as hard in your winter wardrobe as it would in your summer one. - Julia McEwen, fashion & beauty director

Moisture Lock

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Nivea Smooth In-Shower Body Lotion, $6, walmart.ca.

Pretty much everyone I know is suffering from dry skin right now thanks to the tandem team of cold temperatures outside and blasting heat inside. To get a leg up, I'll be using this in-shower lotion which replenishes hydration lost during cleansing. - Alexandra Donaldson, fashion & beauty editor

Vive Le France

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Topshop beret, $25, thebay.com.

Last season we saw the return of berets and the style is only picking up steam as we move into spring. Paired with even a simple outfit, this red beret from Topshop easily turns your outfit from plain to Parisian chic. - Murrisa Barrington, fashion & beauty intern

Roller Girl

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Pura Botanicals Gemstone Face Roller, $54-$64, purabotanicals.com.

The latest in stylish self-care comes in the form of crystal rollers, for your face! Jade, crystal quartz and amethyst are among some of the stones these rollers are made from. Over the last year, it has emerged as the go-to tool to achieve a glowy and healthy complexion. So what exactly do they do? These mini paint rollers massage your face with cooling stones (that’s the roller part) that boost circulation and help with lymphatic drainage to get rid of swelling. - JM 

Don't Be A Square

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Round crossbody, $31, forever21.com.

If you're going to pick up a new bag this season, make it round. The shape has been gaining popularity and is an easy way to update your wardrobe for spring—but still enjoy your purchase now. We recommend a faux-leather option to keep it multi-season and affordable. - AD

Perfect Pout

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Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Lipstick, $10, walmart.ca.

If you love a bold lip but hate touching it up all-day, meet your new makeup bag staple. Maybelline’s matte lip lasted me through an entire day of drinks, meals and goodnight kisses. At only $10 a pop, I’ll be stocking up in a few colours. - MB

Cozy Time

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Softspun dolman sleeve pullover hoodie, $55, gapcanada.ca.

February is notoriously the coldest month of the year in Canada so of course we want things around us that make us feel cozy. Hoodies are that comfortable staple in everyone’s wardrobe, and they can be dressed up or down depending on your mood. - JM

Simple Additions

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Pyrite Drop Necklace, $68, dolorousjewelry.com.

I'm always on the hunt for simple necklaces that I can layer in any season. While this pick from Canadian jewellery deisnger Danielel Singer is from the spring collection, I'll be wearing it over light sweaters and cashmere until it wamrs up. - AD

Mass Appeal

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Wide but top, $40, hm.com.

Wide-sleeved tops are reigning supreme this season and it seems the bigger the sleeve, the better it is. I love this fringe-detailed blouse from H&M. It’s just the right amount of flirty and extra for my next night-out. Let this blouse be the focus of your outfit and wear it with well-tailored pants and strappy sandals. - MB

Secret Sauce

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Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence, $85, sephora.com.

Though this essence has Komboucha in it, don’t drink it, it’s for your face! For those of you who don’t know what Komboucha is, it’s a beverage produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria. It’s found in this essence because of it’s protecting antioxidant properties. Not sure what an essence is? Essences are traditionally more lightweight and less concentrated than serums. You’re meant to apply after toner to add another layer of hydration, before you apply serum. - JM

 Function And Utility

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Wide Leg Cropped Pant, $68USD, everlane.com.

I'm a big fan of this socially-conscious and environmentally-friendly brand, so it makes sense that I want pretty much everything they release. Although this particular pick isn't entirely new (it's an updated version of an older style), I will be picking up a pair in green. I already have the style in black and it's a great transitional weather go-to. AD

Glow Up

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Glamglow #Multimasking Set, $49, sephora.com.

After trying (and loving) a trial size of Glam Glow’s thirsty mud mask last month I knew I had to test out some of their other products. This multi-masking set lets me try some of their most popular mud masks and comes with tips for which products to multi-mask with to achieve your desired glow. - MB

Back To Basics

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Soft Long Sleeve Tee, $32, ae.com.

My next vacation is taking me to Scotland, where I'm told the weather is going to keep me in layers, the cozier the better. I'll be stocking up on these super-soft simple shirts from American Eagle. I already have one, and it's the perfect base layer for sweaters and thermals, but will still look great with a pair of skinny jeans and a red lip for a nicer dinner out. Plus, did I mention it's super soft? - AD

G'day Mate

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Lano’s Multipurpose Superbalm, $23, sephora.ca.

Though Australian native Kirsten Carriol spent 15 years running her own PR agency specializing in beauty, she couldn’t find a product to soothe her ultradry lips. Inspired by the sheep on her grandparents’ farm, with their lanolin-coated wool (the natural wax hydrates and protects the sheep’s coat), Carriol created Lano, a lanolin-based line of lip, hand and body balms. The brand quickly became a cult favourite among beauty enthusiasts and celebrities. The standout from the collection is Lano’s Multipurpose Superbalm, a dense balm that locks hydration in because it holds up to 200 percent of its weight in moisture. It’s a multitasker, that works on dry cuticles, cracked heels, or dry nasal passages. - JM

Walk The Line

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Trousers with stripe, $46, zara.com.

The athleisure trend that cropped up last year is still holding strong in 2018. Refresh your everyday work uniform with a pair of these plaid side-striped trousers from Zara. Take the outfit from casual to corporate by pairing it with a white dress shirt and matching blazer. - MB

Rose toned

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Rose Geranium Toner, $40, crawfordskincare.com.

I'm always on the hunt for a toner, mist or essence that can add an extra dose of hydration to my skin throughout the day. This one is alcohol-free and balancing with aloe, lavender and rosewater. Plus, the brand is all-natural and Canadian. - AD